Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Elizabeth White, Dana Gardner, Pat Romanski, David Paquette, Harry Trott

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Cloud Security, Government Cloud

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

The Cloud and Cybersecurity

The cloud-first policy and the incremental approach to cloud adoption will make IT reform real

As part of federal CIO Vivek Kundra’s 25-point plan to reform federal IT management announced last December, federal agencies must adopt a “cloud-first” policy that requires them to move three applications to the “cloud” over the next 12 to 18 months. Agencies must identify the three “must move” services within three months, move one of those services to the cloud within 12 months and the remaining two within 10 months.

This cloud-first policy and the incremental approach to cloud adoption will make IT reform real and should result in huge (30-50%) savings in federal IT budgets. One specific and measurable goal laid out in the plan calls for a reduction in government data centers from the current 2,094 number to fewer than 800 by 2015. Already 50 percent of government agencies are moving to private clouds but to realize the full potential of the cloud, the government needs to move from many small clouds to fewer large, shared clouds. Of course, federal acquisition policies and authorities must be modified before agencies can fully embrace this strategy. The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) begins to address this issue.

FedRAMP allows joint authorizations and continuous security monitoring services for Government and Commercial cloud computing systems intended for multi-agency use. Joint authorization of cloud providers results in a common security risk model that can be leveraged across the Federal Government. The use of this common security risk model provides a consistent baseline for Cloud based technologies. This common baseline ensures that the benefits of cloud-based technologies are effectively integrated across the various cloud computing solutions currently proposed within the government. The risk model will also enable the government to “approve once, and use often” by ensuring multiple agencies gain the benefit and insight of the FedRAMP’s Authorization and access to service provider’s authorization packages.

There are still a lot of challenges that federal agencies need to work out with the cloud–data sovereignty, privacy and security, funding models, etc–but it is clear that the cloud model will allow government to operate more efficiently and effectively. Nonetheless, there persists the nagging perception that the cloud is inherently unsafe. Government agencies are uncomfortable handing over control of their data to other agencies, vendors or third parties. They are right to be concerned; reported cyber attacks against federal systems increased by 39 percent during the last fiscal year when compared to the year before, says an annual report on agency implementation of the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). The report–posted online last month by the Office of Management and Budget (FY2010 FISMA Report)–finds that Federal agencies reported 41,776 cyber incidents during fiscal 2010. In 2009, agencies reported close to 30,000 incidents.

Despite the grim outlook, we believe the security of the federal enterprise, as well as its functionality, can be significantly enhanced by smartly implementing cloud computing. The following are some key principles that can facilitate this:

  • The importance of mission-focused engineering. Private clouds inside the federal enterprise can enhance mission support, but mission-focused engineering should be a first step in this pursuit.
  • The continual need for security, including data confidentiality, integrity and availability. All federal computing approaches must be engineered to be in total consonance with IA guidelines to assure federal information, information systems and information infrastructure. Cloud Computing, when engineered right, makes dramatic, positive changes to the mission assurance posture of the federal enterprise. Cloud computing enables stronger end point security and better data protection. It also enables the use of thin clients and the many security benefits they provide. Identity management and encryption remain of critical importance.
  • The need for always instantaneously available backup of data in the cloud. Ensured availability under all circumstances is a key benefit of smart cloud computing approaches.
  • The continual need for open source and open standards. Most cloud infrastructure today is based on open source (Linux, Solaris, MySQL, Glassfish, Hadoop) and this positive trend will help in net centric approaches. According to the IDC Group, open source software (OSS) is “the most significant, all-encompassing and long-term trend that the software industry has seen since the early 1980′s” Gartner projects that by 2012, 90 percent of the world’s companies will be using open source software. This all indicates open source and open standards should be a key principle for federal cloud computing and other net centric approaches.
  • The continual need to evaluate both low barrier to entry and low barrier to exit. As approaches to cloud computing are evaluated, too frequently the cost of exiting an approach is not considered, resulting in lock-in into a capability that may soon be inefficient. Cloud computing capabilities should be adopted that do not result in lock-in.
  • The need for open standards. Cloud computing contributions to enhanced functionality for the federal workforce and increase interoperability as the code, API’s and interfaces for cloud computing are secure but are widely published for all participants to interface with. Federal involvement in open source and open standards communities should continue and be accelerated, since increasingly cloud computing open standards are being discussed and designed by open standards bodies like W3C, OASIS, IETF and the Liberty Alliance. Document and other formats used by federal cloud computing activities will be open and available for all authorized users on all devices.
  • The need to understand the cost of “private clouds”. For at least the near term, the federal government will remain a provider of “private cloud” capabilities where security dictates ownership levels of control over compute power. This fact means the federal enterprise must continually engineer for change and technology insertion, which underscores the need for low barriers to exist in design criteria.

Regarding security, cloud computing holds the potential to dramatically change the continuous loosing game of continual workstation patching and IT device remediation by reducing the amount of applications on desktops and changing the nature of the desktop device from fat client to thin client. Devices can now have their entire memory and operating system flashed out to the device from private clouds and can have the power of the cloud presented to users as if the user is on an old fashioned desktop. This can be done in a way that never requires IT departments to visit the workstation to patch and configure it. And since all data is stored on private clouds it can be encrypted and access only provided to authorized users. No data can ever be lost when laptops are stolen and no data can ever be lost when desktops are attacked by unauthorized users. Security by well engineered use or cloud computing and thin clients or cloud computing and smart fat clients is dramatically enhanced.

This all leads to a key conclusion for the federal enterprise: as we move forward in cloud computing for support to the mission, the federal enterprise should continue to strengthen formal processes to ensure that lessons learned from both industry and the government’s own successful cloud computing initiatives are continually examined and broadly adopted across the enterprise

Crucial Point associates Dillon Behr, Alex Olesker, Bob Gourley and Chris Barnes contributed to this post.

This post sponsored by the Enterprise CIO Forum and HP.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder and partner at Cognitio Corp and publsher of CTOvision.com

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Pulzze Systems was happy to participate in such a premier event and thankful to be receiving the winning investment and global network support from G-Startup Worldwide. It is an exciting time for Pulzze to showcase the effectiveness of innovative technologies and enable them to make the world smarter and better. The reputable contest is held to identify promising startups around the globe that are assured to change the world through their innovative products and disruptive technologies. There w...
Is the ongoing quest for agility in the data center forcing you to evaluate how to be a part of infrastructure automation efforts? As organizations evolve toward bimodal IT operations, they are embracing new service delivery models and leveraging virtualization to increase infrastructure agility. Therefore, the network must evolve in parallel to become equally agile. Read this essential piece of Gartner research for recommendations on achieving greater agility.
Akana has announced the availability of version 8 of its API Management solution. The Akana Platform provides an end-to-end API Management solution for designing, implementing, securing, managing, monitoring, and publishing APIs. It is available as a SaaS platform, on-premises, and as a hybrid deployment. Version 8 introduces a lot of new functionality, all aimed at offering customers the richest API Management capabilities in a way that is easier than ever for API and app developers to use.
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abil...
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
With so much going on in this space you could be forgiven for thinking you were always working with yesterday’s technologies. So much change, so quickly. What do you do if you have to build a solution from the ground up that is expected to live in the field for at least 5-10 years? This is the challenge we faced when we looked to refresh our existing 10-year-old custom hardware stack to measure the fullness of trash cans and compactors.
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions wi...
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, will deep dive into best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
In today's uber-connected, consumer-centric, cloud-enabled, insights-driven, multi-device, global world, the focus of solutions has shifted from the product that is sold to the person who is buying the product or service. Enterprises have rebranded their business around the consumers of their products. The buyer is the person and the focus is not on the offering. The person is connected through multiple devices, wearables, at home, on the road, and in multiple locations, sometimes simultaneously...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....